Hispanic Federation Celebrates Passage of the New York DREAM Act

NEW YORK, NY — Hispanic Federation celebrated today the passage of the New York Dream Act, a bill that allows undocumented immigrants to apply for state financial aid programs. The bill, which passed in both chambers of the New York Legislature today, will also create a scholarship fund for undocumented students.

“We commend the New York legislature for passing a bill that will help improve educational and employment opportunities for undocumented immigrants,” said Jose Calderon, president of Hispanic Federation. “In recent months, President Trump has heightened his attacks on this vulnerable population and done everything in his power to strip them off their basic human rights. The passage of the NY Dream Act demonstrates the kind of leadership needed at this time in our history. It embodies the sentiment of a  majority of New Yorkers who disagree with the President’s hateful anti-immigrant rhetoric and believe that undocumented immigrants who have arrived to our nation as children, through no act of their own, deserve the same opportunities to succeed and contribute their value to our nation as every other American.” Research indicates that nearly 4,500 undocumented students graduate from a state high school annually, yet only 5 to 10 percent end up enrolling in a local college or university. The NY Dream Act would help to increase the number of undocumented immigrants who receive a higher education, and set them up for financial success and economic security.

“For years, Hispanic Federation has been working hand in hand with state and local policymakers, community advocates and educators to expand immigrants’ access to higher education,” continued Calderon. “We see the NY Dream Act as a critical step to cultivating and celebrating the untapped potential and talents of undocumented youth. Through this much-needed investment, New York can continue to position itself as a beacon for immigrant communities who have made the state their home for generations,  while reaping the economic benefits of increased productivity and innovation that these communities provide the state, and the nation.”

To be eligible for the NY Dream Act, undocumented students must either obtain a New York State High School Equivalency Diploma or graduate from a state high school after attending it for a minimum of two years. Students must then enroll in a local university within five years of graduating from high school or obtaining the equivalency diploma.

The NY Dream Act, which was first introduced by late Senator Jose Peralta and then-Assemblyman Francisco Moya in 2013, was sponsored by Senator Luis Sepúlveda Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa.